While the label of 'pilgrim' is still mostly associated with devout persons leaving home with purely religious motives, young people taking to the road as 'backpackers' are generally perceived as adventure seeking globetrotters. Questioning these stereotypes, anthropologist and filmmaker Tommi Mendel followed two young women, one along the Way of St. James -- a centuries old pilgrimage route -- through France and Spain, and another backpacking through Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Documenting their experiences and encounters over a period of three years, this film reveals intriguing parallels between what at first glance appear as two different ways of traveling.
Common Roads is Tommi Mendel's PhD-thesis accepted by the University of Zurich and was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
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